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The saint city Częstochowa - the merina for Faithfulls.


Herb oo PaulinówDeeply rooted in Polish history and culture for the past six centuries and extolled by Polish and foreign artists alike, the Paulite Monastery at Jasna Góra, where the famous Picture of Our Lady of Częstochowa has been preserved , continues to draw both pilgrims and art connoisseurs.
The Paulite Order was founded in Hungary Canon Eusebius of Gran (Esztergom) who in 1246 retired to the Pilis forests as an hermit. Though in 1308 the Paulite Order given the rule of St. Augustine by Cardinal Gentili, legate of Pope Clement V, mode of life of the Paulite monks was influenced by its eremitic origins, which finds expression to this day in the name of the Order: Ordo Sancti Pauli Primi Eremitae, or the Order of St. Paul the Plan Jasnej GóryFirst Hermit. This, at the same time, is a reference to the patron of the Order, St. Paul Thebes in Upper Egypt (born c. 228), a son of a wealthy family, who withdrew into the Thebes desert to flee the Emperor Decius' persecution of Christians. He lived there as an hermit for nearly ninety years. Shortly before his death, when he was 113 years old, he was found by another solitary, St. Anthony. St. Paul's attributes, often found in Paulite monasteries, are a palm tree and a raven; the former provided him with leaves to make his attire, while the latter, according to legend, brought him bread. Sometimes he is also represented ;with two lions which are said to have dug his grave with their claws, where the body of the recluse was laid by his friend, St.Anthony. So much for the legend. And what does history say?
The Hungarian monks who recognized St. Paul as their patron drew up their constitutions during a general chapter held in St. Laurence's Monastery at Buda in 1309. From the original idea of eremitism there remained seclusion, the abandonment of family and social life, and severe discipline with periods of hard labour, meditation and prayers. As the Order evolved, each of its monasteries acquired its own specific features depending on where it was established. Such was also the case with Jasna Góra where Paulites were brought by Duke Ladislaus of Opole. This was at the time when Hungarian influences were particularly strong in Poland - during the reign of Louis of Anjou, nephew and heir of the last king of the Polish Piast dynasty. Ladislaus was Louis's palatine for Ruthenia which encompassed the western part of today's Ukraine with the main towns of Lvov and Halich. He installed the Paulite monks in the estates he had Been granted by theBazylika Główna monarch. In this task he was assisted by Jan Radlica, Bishop of Cracow and court physician. On 9 August 1382, several weeks before the death of King Louis, in a document affixed with a seal representing a horseman-which is preserved to this day in the Jasna Góra Archives-Ladislaus performed the act of foundation of the Paulite Monastery in Częstochowa which was to become one of the centres of religious and cultural life in Poland. Within the Paulite Order, the Jasna Góra Monastery held a specific position : though the monastery was headed by a prior, from the end of the 14th century on it was also the seat of the provincial of the Order for Poland where in the period of the Paulites' greatest influence as many as 29 Paulite monasteries existed. In 1930 the monastery became the residence of the general of the Order and has remained so to this day.
Despite the ascetic way of life of the monks, the Jasna Góra Monastery has never been poor. Donations by Ladislaus of Opole were followed by endowments from King Ladislaus Jagiello, and later from the Seym (parliament) of the Polish Commonwealth, kings, magnates and the gentry. Many estates were bought by the monks themselves.
The no mean profits of the Monastery paid not only for the upkeep of the monks, of whom there were between fifty and ninety at Jasna Góra at a time, but also for numerous architectural and artistic ventures. After all, affluence has nearly always laid at the basis of artistic patronage and contributed to the appearance of works of art. In about 1428 in Italy, Poggio Bracciolini argued against the ideals of Klasztor z lotu ptakaFranciscan poverty in a pamphlet entitled De avaritia, in which he derided "Madame Poverty" : "All splendours, beauties, ornaments and decorations will disappear from our cities ... there will be no churches nor cathedrals, no monuments of art . . . all our life and even the life of the stare will be in ruin if everybody strives for the bare necessities of life."
While writing about the cultural heritage of Jasna Góra it is only proper to start with the masterpiece round which all other works of architecture, sculpture, painting and craftsmanship have Been amassed to adorn it. This masterpiece is a picture, 122 by 82 cm, which is known all over the world as the Black Madonna of Częstochowa. In the second half of the 15th century, theModlitwa braci Paulinów illustrious historian, Canon Jan Długosz of Cracow, wrote in Liber beneficiorum dioecensis Cracoviensis that at Częstochowa "[they] show a picture of Mary, the most glorious and the most venerable virgin, the queen of the world and of the Poles, which has Been executed with a strange and extraordinary skill, with a serene expression on Her face from whatever direction you look at it. They say it is one of those [ pictures] painted by St. Luke the Evangelist himself ... Looking at this picture one is pervaded with a sense of peculiar piety, as if looking at a living person." Długosz's admiration expressed in this description does not go hand in hand with historic accuracy as regards the origins of the picture. In fact even today neither stylistic nor iconographic analyses are of much help. A stylistic analysis yields no data as to when the Jasna Góra picture was made since in 1434 it was painted virtually anew. An iconological analysis, on the other hand-assuming, which seems to be beyond any doubt, that the authors of the new version were faithful to the original as regards its contents-has made itWieża klasztoru possible only to ascertain that the prototype of the picture was a Byzantine icon modelled on the one which from the 5th century on had been worshipped in a church in Constantinople's ton hodegon quarter inhabited probably by harbour pilots or guides. Therefore this type of Madonna with Child on Her left arm, with the latter holding, in older images, a scroll and later a book, was known as Hodegetria. The Constantinople original was destroyed by the Turks in 1453, but many versions and copies of it have Been preserved, of which the most famous are undoubtedly the Sales Popular Romany (also known as Our Lady of the Snows) from the Canella Paullina in the Roman basilica of Santa Maria Maguire, and Our Lady of Częstochowa. It is difficult to ascertain when this latter picture was painted: it could have been made some time between the 6th and 14th centuries. As regards the place of its origin, there are still controversies among experts who have examined the painting's support, that is a kind of wood (lime) and the ground on which it was painted, and among art historians. For example Ewa Śnieżyńska-Stolot has attributed the picture to the Italian circle of Simone Martini . . . It is a fact, however, that the picture arrived in Jasna Góra most probably on 31 August 1384, brought by Ladislaus of Opole who, as a palatine for Ruthenia, had his residence in Belz between 1372 and 1378. Thus the Madonna might have arrived at Częstochowa from Ruthenia, and the transportation itself, modelled on the transportation of the relics of St. Paul the Hermit from Venice to Hungary in 1381, was described in a manuscript, known from an early 15th century copy, entitled Translatio tabulae Beatae Mariae hirginis quam Sanctus Lucas depinxit propriis manibus. According to this manuscript the picture was painted by St. Luke, and this account of the origins of the picture was repeated later, for example in Długosz's Chronicle.
Długosz confirms the existence of the cult of the picture as well as the fact that pilgrims arrived at Częstochowa both from Poland and abroad, "from all of Poland, Moravia, Prussia and Hungary", with votive offerings and valuable gifts. In Obraz Matki Boskiej Częstochowskiejhis Historia Polonica he describes the events of 1430 which were to determine the future shape of the Jasna Góra picture. He could have remembered these events himself since in 1430 the future chronicler was fifteen years old. What happened was that a party of robbers, connected with the Hussite movement and composed of Poles, Czechs, Germans and Ruthenians, having learnt that "the monastery at Jasna Góra . . . possesses immense treasures and money, on Easter Day raided the Paulite monastery. Having found no treasures they sacrilegiously reached out for sacred objects, such as chalices, crosses and ornaments. They even stripped the Picture of Our Lady of precious stones and jewels with which it had Been embellished by pious believers. They did not stop at that but slashed the image with a sword and broke the panel on which the picture was painted ... Having committed this felony, more disgraced with their crime than made richer, they fled with a slight booty."

From the work entitled Historia pulchra et stupendis miraculis referta imaginis Mariae, written by Piotr Rysiński and published in Cracow in 1523 or 1524, and from Andrzej Gołdonowski's book Diva Claromontana published in 1642 we learn that the Paulites took the profaned and damaged picture to Cracow to show it to King Ladislaus Jagiello who as early as 1424 had supported their request to Pope Martin V for the right to grant indulgences to pilgrims arriving at Jasna Góra. Rysiński says Chat the Paulites appeared in Cracow at the time when Ladislaus Jagiello was returning from the Prussian war, that is in the first half of 1433. It is hardly possible that the monks kept the picture hidden for three years; therefore it must be surmised that it underwent a temporary repair during this time. In 1433 the Paulites sought the help of court painters who, as is known, favoured the Byzantine-Ruthenian or Byzantine-Macedonian style of painting. No wonder then that the first to try their skin in restoring the picture were Ruthenian painters who, as Rysiński writes, quoting an earlier masnuscript, executed the work more graeco; however paints ran from the picture on the following day, and their next effort proved equally unsuccessful. Only then was the task entrusted to west European artists, "imperial" artists as they were called, and it was they who, after one failure, succeeded in restoring the painting.Kaplica z obrazem
What was the difficulty in restoring the picture? Since the conviction prevailed that the picture was painted on a panel formed by three cyprus planks from the top of the table of the Holy Family in Nazareth, the royal painters considered it necessary to preserve them. After fitting and smoothing the broken planks of the panel of this "board", mentioned by Długosz, in which fissures were mended with new pieces of wood, a neatly weaved and patched piece of canvas was glued on to it and covered with a gesso coating two to three millimeters thick. Having thus prepared the ground, the artists faithfully copied the Madonna and Child from the damaged original. Thus, from an iconographic point of view, it continued to be a Hodegetria, though presented by stylistic means characteristic of European art in the first half of the 15th century, which meant a departure from the Byzantine linear and two-dimensional pattern, making the features more tender, and the introduction of half tints and soft outlines. Since in the course of the three years which had elapsed between the destruction of the picture and its restoration, both monks and pilgrims had become accustomed to the slashes on the face of the Madonna, the artists preserved them by applying vermilion lines on the right cheek of Our Lady. Thus a sacred picture most symptomatic of Polish culture came into being: eastern, Byzantine in its contents and western European in its form. "It's neither West nor East, just as if you were standing on the threshold," as Jerzy Liebert wrote about Warsaw and perhaps Poland in general.
The Jasna Góra picture underwent another transformation: while restoring the picture between 1June and 22 December 1705 Brother Makary Sztyftowski, a goldsmith by trade, did not, fortunately, repaint the faces of the Virgin Mary and the Child, but placed the right hand of the Madonna slightly higher. Further, expert conservation work on the picture was carried out in 1925 and 1926 by Jan Rutkowski, in 1945 by H. Kucharski, in 1948 by Rudolf Kozłowski and in 1950-51 by Kozłowski again. At present the picture is under constant care of a team of experts. Extolled in poems and songs, the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa has been reproduced countless times. It was embroidered on banners in the battles of Chocim in 1621 and Beresteczko in 1651, and engraved on hussar breast-plates. Since the second half of the 17th century the Jasna Góra picture has been dressed in precious robes. At the beginning there were four of them (now five), executed by the skilful embroiderer, Brother Klemens Tomaszewski. Starting from c. 1431 onwards, the aureoles round the heads of the Madonna and the Child have been covered with diadems of repousse gilded silver. Since the 15th century engraved silver plates depicting scenes from the life of Jesus and Mary and the figure of St. Barbara have covered the background of the picture. The golden crowns over the heads of the Madonna and Child were presented by Pope Pius X in 1910 in connection with the coronation of the picture. In recent years the picture has usually been displayed without the above mentioned robes and as a result the viewer can perceive the authentic colouration of the painting. The Byzantine solemnity of the original, toned down by the sweetness and lyricism of early 15th century painting, embue the picture with a unique charm which makes such an impression on pilgrims and visitors to Jasna Góra. This is the greatest treasure of the Częstochowa monastery both from the religious and the artistic point of view, quite apart from its immense historical value. From here Polish kings and hetmen set off for battlefields and hereNawa główna bazyliki they came back to express thanks for their victories with votive offerings which often consisted of booty captured from the enemy. Kings and hetmen were followed by the gentry, burghers, craftsmen and peasants. Strings of corals, which used to be the essential ornament of the peasant women's dress, served to embellish one of the magnificent robes in which the picture was attired. Another robe, made in 1966, is adorned with rubies dating mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries, and trimmed in addition with hundreds of wedding rings offered by married couples; for this reason it is known as the robe of faithfulness. Cloisonné ornaments, real , masterpieces of the goldsmith's art, studded with diamonds, emeralds, pearls and rubies, which were presented to the Jasna Góra monastery as ex vota, have been fixed on to the most valuable of all robes, called the Diamond Robe. All these jewels depict the whole history of European and oriental jewellery from the High Renaissance to art nouveau; as well as representing the skills of goldsmiths connected with various centres. Thus, for example, among the many ornaments sown on the Ruby Robe, there is one of Hungarian (?) provenance, called Patrona Hungariae, dating from the early 16th century, while Italy is the country of origin of a scent flask, made of a twin pearl, and probably of a small smiling cupid with an arch, a gold cloisonné work of white and green enamel studded with rubies and pearls, dating back to the first half of the 17th century. A black cupid crowns an early Baroque (first half of the 17th century) ornament in the shape of a winged heart which adorns the Diamond Robe.
The picture of the Madonna is kept in the Chapel of Our Lady which originally was the size of its present presbytery, dating back to the mid-15th century or even the beginning of the 15th century, and which, as legend has it, was founded by King Ladislaus Jagiello. This original chapel had two side altars, while the high altar, Sala Rycerskabeside the Miraculous Picture, contained the likenesses of two patron saints of Poland, the virgin martyrs St. Catherine and St. Barbara. The original polychrome in the chapel, discovered between 1944 and 1947 by the painters, Józef and Łucja Oźmin, dates back to the late 15th century. Near the entrance to the chapel there was the choir where the Paulites, according to the Order's rule, said their breviary at certain times of day and night. The monks' cells were to be found above the choir.
The shrine was extended between 1641and 1644 through donations from Primate Łubieński and his family. The original chapel received two aisles which surpassed it in size and a spacious cloistered narthex. The Gothic chapel became a presbytery separated from the nave by a Baroque, exquisitely elaborate, brass rood screen. The interior was embellished with Late Renaissance decorations divided by means of pilasters, and the vaulted ceilings were adorned with stucco patterns which spilled beyond the presbytery and covered the Gothic ribbing and the original frescoes. Four side altars and three portals of black marble from Dębnik completed the decor which also boasted decoration painted al fresco on the fields marked out by the stuccos as well as easel paintings. Of the latter particularly noteworthy is the large picture, hanging above the rood screen, which was made shortly after the repulsion of the Swedish troops in 1635 and depicts this important event in the history of the monastery. The high altar, containing the Miraculous Picture, was founded by Jerzy Ossoliński, "prince of the Roman Empire the supreme chancellor of the kingdom", who made a pilgrimage to Jasna Góra in 1643, when the work on expansion was still in progress. The chancellor intended to endow the chapel with a new retable of silver; however, he was persuaded by King Ladislaus IV, of a more practical mind, that silver, providing it did not attract the attention of thieves first, would in time become tarnished. Therefore the chancellor chose ebony, a rare kind of wood, which at the time fetched prices so high that only small movable altars were made of it. The ebony altar with silver ornaments cost its donor about 100,000 zlotys, that is more than the cost of the expansion of the whole chapel. The retable was completed in 1650. The silver statues of angels were the work of the royal goldsmith, Johann ChristianBiblioteka klasztorna Bierpfaff. The black-and-white marble floor of the chapel contrasted with the colour of the walls covered with gilded leather, possibly cordovan, a gift of nuncio Bolognetti, and later with costly Renaissance velvet of Genoese origin, dating back to the 16th century, a gift of Prince Konstanty Sobieski in 1719. The latter's father, before he became King John III, presented one of the valuable silver lamps (first on the left), while other donations were made by Queen Marie Casimire and King Stanislaus Leszczyński. Above the altar a canopy of costly cloth was pitched.
In 1689 Baroque was introduced to the interior of the chapel. The Renaissance stucco work in the nave was replaced with Baroque stucco decoration, both figural (representations of angels) and floral, with the latter surrounding the medallions in which the busts of apostles and patron saints of Poland as well as Marian emblems were painted. In the first half of the 18th century plans were made-in which Antonio Solari, the architect who designed the Paulite Church on the Rock (na Skałce) in Cracow, took part-for modernizing the chapel according to the changing fashions of the epoch. However, the only alterations were exquisite stucco decorations reminiscent of the French Regency style, which adorned the vaulting above the galleries.
Światowe Dni MłodzieżyIn the early 20th century the architect Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz turned the courtyard and cloisters in front of the chapel into a spacious narthex. Shortly after the last war the 17th century stucco work in the presbytery was removed and the Gothic ribbing and frescoes were uncovered. The final innovations have been fine wire nets hung on the walls on which votive offerings, the number of which keeps growing, are placed.
When the Jasna Góra Monastery was founded, the Paulites were granted a small timber church. Shortly after, possibly following the raid in 1430, with the assistance of Cracovian and presumably Silesian architects, they built a larger, brick church, which was completed about the middle of the 15th century. An account dating from 1463 says that the monastery consisted of "the church from the original endowment", the Chapel of Our Lady, the Chapel of St. Paul the Hermit, and a new, five-bay Church of Our Lady. This church probably became the presbytery for the present two-aisled Basilica of the Holy Cross and Our Lady of Częstochowa, expanded later and reconstructed after a fire which broke out in July 1690. This reconstruction obliterated the traces of the decoration which was characteristic of churches of (as Michał Walicki calls them) the Lublin and Kalisz type of c. 1600, since the walls and the Renaissance portal were all that was left. On the occasion of the stay at Jasna Góra of King Ladislaus IV, various accounts describe the high altar as it was before the fire in the basilica. The present altar dates back to I725-28 and was executed in Wrocław in Jan Adam Karinger's workshop, after a design by Jacopo Antonio Buzzini. The lower tier of the high altar contains the scene of the Assumption with the Madonna supported by angels and - surrounded by the Four Evangelists. In the upper tier the Holy Trinity awaits Mary's arrival to put a diadem on the head of the one whom the high-blown Counter-Reformation theology named complementum Trinitatis or the Completion of the Trinity. The afore-mentioned fire destroyed the sumptuous appointments of the basilica, including the superb stalls which were decorated with figures of the Four Evangelists, as many Patriarchs and Doctors of the Church as well as the Three Magi. Above thPielgrzymka papieża na Jasną Góręe stalls there used to hang three rows of paintings depicting scenes from the life of Jesus and Mary and miracles performed at Jasna Góra, all gifts from Father Izydor Leszczyński, while side altars contained pictures by Father Felicjan Ratyński.
The preserved walls of the basilica acquired a new vaulting between 1692 and 1695. Medallions enclosed in sumptuous stucco ornamentation were painted by Karl Dankwart of Nysa. Those in the nave and aisles render the allegories of the Virgin Mary and the miracles she worked at Jasna Góra, while those in the presbytery represent allegories and emblems connected with the Tree of the Cross. Repainted in 1914, they however lost their original traits. In 1728 the walls of the basilica were partly gilded and in 1760-62, thanks to a bequest from the Treasurer Siedlnicki, covered with marble. In the same period the pulpit was trimmed with stucco decoration and new altars and pews were made by the carpenter, Brother Antoni Rotter.
Jan Paweł II podczas modlitwyThe only chapel which had survived the fire and has been preserved to this day in perfect condition is the sepulchral chapel of the Denhoff family, built in 1645-71, with a beautiful vaulting decorated with rich stucco ornaments. Its builder, Franciszek Zaor, came from Cracow, and from the Sigismun1d Chapel at Wawel came its design, though here its original Renaissance shape and colouration in interior decoration has acquired Baroque features since its walls are faced with the black marble of Dębnik. Excavated in the vicinity of Cracow, in the 17th century black marble replaced Kielce marble and red Hungarian marble which had been used in the Renaissance period. The ascetic piety of the era following the Council of Trent as well as Spanish tastes which favoured blacks, both won black marble widespread popularity in architectural sculpture and decoration. In a paradoxical contrast with its name (Jasna Góra: lit. bright or light hill)-which incidentally was in good taste in Baroque poetry and art Jasna Góra has a vast quantity of altars, portals and tomb stones executed in black marble. In the Chapel of Our Lady too the floor is tiled with black and white marble which brings out the black and silver of the high altar. Baroque in fact influenced the majority of the artistic undertakings making up this unique complex of works of art which Jasna Góra is. Its most prominent feature is Poland's most beautiful and highest slender steeple rising above the monastery. In the four hundred years of its existence it has had various shapes. At the beginning it stood apart and only in the course of construction of the Baroque basilica was it included within its walls. Originally timber in its upper section, in the 17th century it was already of stone with the spire octagonal in shape. After the fire in 1690 a builder of the Cracow Castle, Piotr Bober, provided it with a multi-storeyed spire crowned with a tin-covered pinnacle. Following another fire, in 1900, the steeple was reconstructed in this shape which is as typical for church architecture in Poland as is Seville's Giralda for that of Spain. Papież odprawia mszę św
The Jasna Góra monastery was built on a rectangular plan. The fronts of its wings are decorated and provided with octagonal turrets. The oldest is the eastern wing. The northern wing was built during the rule of the Vasa dynasty. The southern wing, which contains the Debating or Grand Hall (built in 1647), known today as the Knights' Hall, dates back to the mid-17th century, while the western wing, destined for the Refectory, was built only in the 1960's. As a result, while forming one harmonious whole, the structure at the same time is marked by great diversity, and the monastery has become a perfect specimen of Polish residence in the 17th and 18th century style on a par with the Ujazdów palace, the bishops' palace in Kielce and the palace in Nieborów. With the fortifications erected at Jasna Góra in the 1720's, the monastery constitutes a unique example of palazzo in fortezza.
It is said that the work on building defences was first encouraged by King Sigismund III who sent his court architect to Jasna Góra to this purpose. The next stage in fortification work, which enjoyed the support of King Ladislaus IV, was carried out for many years. The defences were designed according to a new system of fortification, known as the Dutch method, with its preference for massive earthen ramparts which were said to be the most resilient against gun shelling. The protruding bastions served to fire at the besieging enemy forces from the flanks. The only gate was to be found on the southern side. Owing to these defences, between 18 November and 26 December 1655, Jasna Góra successfully held out against a siege by Swedish mercenary troops under the command of General Bruchard Müller. The defence of the monastery, from which the monks had providently removed the Picture of Our Lady, was directed by the Prior Augustyn Kordecki (1603-73), who, having formally recognized the sovereignty of King Charles Gustavus, refused to let a Swedish force enter the monastery. Father Kordecki described the course of the siege in his memoirs published in Latin in 1657 under the title Nova Gigantomachia. The defence of Jasna Góra coincided with a popular uprising in the Carpathian foothills. King John Casimir, who had taken refuge in Silesia, returned to Poland where in the meantime looting and acts of violence on the part of Charles Gustavus' army, and in particular their attempt at capturing Jasna Góra, provoked armed opposition among the population. The defence of Jasna Góra acquired a symbolic significance, hallowed by legend and regarded as a miracle worked by the Virgin Mary, and among all social classes enhanced sympathy for the Częstochowa Paulites because, as Father Kordecki wrote, "valuing their lives less than the salvation of the monastery, they ignored the common sense of their own inclinations in order to keep this holy place free of enemy violence". The events of the defence of Jasna Góra were also transmitted to us in numerous paintings, which are kept in the monastery and elsewhere, and in prints. After the "Swedish Deluge" new fortifications were added. During the reign of John Casimir, who is said to have taken part in the raising of earthworks together with his spouse, courtiers and crown senators, the Royal Tower was built which, however, seems to have been of little military significance. The eastern bastion was built in 1674 owing to the generosity of Jan Pieniążek. In the 18th century other bastions were erected : one founded by the Lubomirskis in 1736 and one founded by the Potockis in 1743 . The Lubomirski Gate built by Johann Baptist Limberger of Wrocław in 1723 as well as the Stanislaus Augustus Gate dating from 1767 were designed more as grand entrances to the monastery rather than defensive structures. The approach to the Lubomirski Gate is a paved courtyard decorated with a huge stone mosaic representing the coat-of-arms of the Paulite Order. The Jasna Góra fortifications were pulled down by order of Tsar Alexander I. In 1864, following the January Insurrection, Tsar Alexander II issued a decree dissolving all Paulite monasteries with the exception of Jasna Góra which, however, was deprived of its administration and whose property was handed over to the royal treasury. The words which in about 1770 the monastery addressed to the Estates of the Commonwealth proved to be prophetic: "Faithful to the king and the nation, even if it [the monastery] has not helped to ease the fatherland's fate, at least it has never made it worse. It has withstood so many defeats and so many disasters patiently. The losses and destruction it has suffered were even gratifying since they were incurred for its king and its own fatherland." Despite fires and losses the Jasna Góra collections have been preserved almost intact.
The movable artistic property of the monastery can be divided generally into the following groups : sculpture, painting and handicrafts. A separate place has to be devoted to manuscripts, especially illuminated ones, including the mid-15th century Italian breviary and the early 16th century Missal, known as the Jasna Góra Missal, decorated with the Jagiellonian coat-of arms. The miniatures in the Jasna Góra Missal were executed between 1505 and 1510 in Cracow. Worth mentioning are also the old prints. Incidentally, the monastery had its own paper mill and printing shop and to this day its library is among the most interesting in Poland.
Nabożeństwo w kaplicy Matki Boskiej CzęstochowskiejOf the sculptured pieces pride of place undoubtedly goes to the exquisite Late Gothic crucifix which is to be found in a side altar in the Chapel of Our Lady. Executed in wood in the early 16th century, in its formal features it has preserved the moving solemnity and expressiveness of the "twilight of the Middle Ages". The open mouth, as if frozen in its last breath, speaks of the bitterness of dying alone. The sculpture was obviously made by an excellent artist who could have been under the influence of Wit Stwosz, active at that time in Cracow.
Baroque sculpture is represented by a wealth of figures embellishing the altars, while Neo-Classicism can be glimpsed from bronze statues of varying artistic standards, which are grouped in the fourteen Stations of the Cross. The latter are set up on raised stone pedestals around the monastery walls and were executed by Pius Weloński (1849-1931), graduate of the Fine Arts Academy in St. Petersburg, who during his twenty year stay in Rome had adopted the principles of Classicism. Due to their unusual exposition, these monumental sculpted groups are indeed impressive and constitute one of the factors which make up the peculiar atmosphere of Jasna Góra.
We have already spoken about monumental painting and its greatest representative at Jasna Góra, Karl Dankwart, in connection with architectural ornamentation. With regard to easel painting, on the other hand, the monastery not only contained many valuable paintings which had been commissioned by the Paulites from various artists from outside the monastery, but also boasted its own painters, just as was the case with representatives of other fields of art. Well known are the names of the lay brothers Izydor Leszczyński and Antoni Dobrzyński, though undoubtedly the artist of the greatest individuality was Tyburcjusz (Aleksy) Nowakowicz (1599/1600-47) from Łask. Connected with the Cracow artistic milieu, in 1623 he was received into the local painters' guild as a bachelor and on 15 January I627 took the vows of the Paulite Order at Jasna Góra. The Mannerist attenuation of the figures of St. Augustine and St. Stanislaus, executed in 1622 and 1623 respectively, as well as of the Paulite proto-eremites are reminiscent not only of the work of the initialist signing himself "A. A." and Stanisław Szczerbic, but also that of Tomaso Dolabella (c.1570-1650) who at the end of the 16th century arrived in Cracow at the invitation of King Sigismund III and made a considerable impact on Cracow painters. Paintings from Dolabella's circle or perhaps even from his workshop, which means that they might have been executed with his assistance, found their way to Jasna Góra. Nowakowicz did not free himself totally from the tradition of old, Gothic forms. He was prone to a certain formalism which can be seen in his sharply outlined figures and in his use of large coloured planes, for example liturgical capes and their lining, in abstract fashion. These traits are discernible, for example, in the images of St. Augustine and St. Stanislaus of Cracow. With all this his landscapes, which serve as a background in his paintings, do not lack real perspective, while architecture and events, though expressed according to the rules of medieval continuous representation, recall experiments of early Renaissance artists. These stylistic incompatibilities make Nowakowicz's works symptomatic of 17th century art in Poland and beyond.
In the mid-17th century the most outstanding painter at Jasna Góra was Father Felicjan Ratyński (?-1688), muralist and author of painted votive pictures which, together with votive pictures printed by the Paulites in their own printing press, were distributed among pilgrims. Incidentally, Father Ratyński was skilful not only in wielding the brush. He was one of Jasna Góra's defenders during the Swedish siege and became famous both for his personal courage-for the whole time he stayed on the walls under enemy fire-and for his uncommon skill as an artilleryman. With one shot he killed the officer in command of the heavy mortars which were harassing the Jasna Góra defences.
Another artist who became known as an author of pictures which were to serve as souvenirs of pilgrimages was Father Cyprian Łaszkiewicz at the beginning of the 18th century. A chronicle says that he took lessons from a court painter at the expense of the Paulite Order's province, and his pictures were sought after and highly valued "almost in all of Europe". In the second half of the 18th century the lay brother Marceli Dobrzeniewski was also well known.
In 1766 the provincial took him to Lvov where he was taught painting by Stroiński. Brother Dobrzeniewski renovated and supplemented the murals on the ceiling of the Jasna Góra Refectory, decorated the ianitorium vestibule, restored paintings in the Knights' Hall, and adorned the Chapel of St. Joseph with murals. He also made easel paintings to be installed in altars and to decorate the vestibules and cells of the monastery. His works were also to be found in the Monastery on the Rock in Cracow and the one in Łęczyca, as well as in private collections.
What kind of art was practised at Jasna Góra by monks and secular artists working for the monastery? Formally it did not differ from the "Venetian-Cracow" style represented by Dolabella and his followers. Dolabella himself, however, underwent a process of assimilation in order to indulge the tastes of his Polish recipients. This in fact meant a gradual departure from many of the features which characterized Venetian painting of the late 16th century. The Mannerist attenuation of figures and their artiness combined with realism and even peculiar naturalism all went to make the work more comprehensible to the viewer. At Jasna Góra, the monastery visited by masses of the gentry and peasantry, such stylization was all the more necessary.
It has to be remembered that the Częstochowa Paulites devoted much effort to preaching and there was no lack of excellent orators among them. Let it suffice to mention the names of Mikołaj of Wilkowiecko, author of The Story of the Lord's Glorious Resurrection, the famous miracle play staged a few years ago by Kazimierz Dejmek and presented in many countries in Europe, which was published in Cracow in c. 1580, and Ambroży Nieszporkiewicz who wrote the oft reissued Morsels from the Royal Table (Cracow 1683 and 1686; Jasna Góra 1706, 1730, 1733, 1757 and 1978; and Częstochowa 1759). In 1680 and 1691 in Cracow there appeared Officina emblematum Virginis et Matris Dei Mariae. Many more preachers from Jasna Góra had their sermons and orations published in Cracow and by the monastery press. Moreover, preaching often fostered arts at Jasna Góra. The Polish preacher, Father Fabian Birkowski, wrote in 1629 recalling St. Gregory the Great's maxim : "Writing is to those who can read what painting is to simpletons : by looking at paintings the latter learn what they must follow; painting is reading for those who cannot read." Let us note that painting was the genre of art to which the Catholic Church attached the greatest importance, especially after the Council of Trent. Though the people kept their faith, the aim was to make it more ardent. In such places as the Jasna Góra sanctuary the simple pilgrim had to be kept in mind even though an artistocrat or a nobleman might prefer to listen to a learned Jesuit. It was with this simple viewer in mind that Birkowski wrote: "For him painting stands in place of a scholar and a book and this vivid representation teaches him more than a preacher's words."
Like preaching, this kind of painting aimed at arousing feelings, teaching and persuading, teaching not only holy, biblical history but contemporary history, strongly tinged with patriotic sentiments, as well.Widok z klasztornej wieży
It seems that contemporary history in pictures, painted so often and so willingly, played the role of an exemplum in which medieval preaching had abounded since the 13th and especially since the 15th century. Events from the lives of saints and those of less saintly people-that is negative examples which were to discourage unworthy priests from reading sacrilegious masses-painted in the sacristy, as well as good examples of pious Polish kings visiting Jasna Góra, all these were intended to work on the imagination, wisdom and feelings of the viewer and stimulate his will towards performing good and avoiding evil deeds.
The majority of Jasna Góra paintings represented a genre which might be described as religious-historical, by which we mean not only biblical scenes but also, in a more or less conventional way, events known to the painters from chronicles and legends. Obviously more authentic are those pictures which were created under the fresh impact of current events, for example the siege of Jasna Góra by the Swedes or visits by such monarchs as Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki or John III Sobieski, since only a short span of time separated these events from the moment the paintings devoted to them were executed.
From the point of view of form, religious-historical paintings seem to be connected with two stylistic strains radiating from two opposite ends of the contemporary Commonwealth. Of the two, the most striking is the influence of the VenetianCracow circle connected with Dolabella.
This is clearly discernible in the picture showing "The Transportation of the Relics of St. Honorata and St. Candida the Martyrs to Jasna Góra on 7 September 1682" and "The Transportation of the Relics of St. Paul the Hermit from Venice to the Town of Buda in 1381". Both the form and contents of these pictures evoke Venice which is shown in the background with its Grand Canal and various ships approaching the port of the Queen of the Seas. At Jasna Góra, situated not far away from Cracow, these Venetian influences are not surprising. The case is different with regard to various pictures with similar religious-historical subjects in which one can discern Dutch Mannerist inspiration. Dutch Mannerism had appeared in Gdańsk many years before, at the close of the 16th century, following the immigration of artists persecuted in the Netherlands for Protestantism. Scenes of the reception granted by Jasna Góra monks to various monarchs and the latter's donations are shown against architectural backgrounds which had been introduced in Gdańsk art by Jan Vredeman de Vries (152-I604) and Izaak van den Block (?-I628). Also in this case original inspiration acquired specific Polish traits. For example, the Mannerist sharpness and ascetism of contours are combined with the pre-Renaissance fascination with colour, and moreover Polish artists seem to have drawn particular satisfaction in using bright vermilion in painting robes of foreground figures which were contrasted with light and cool or warm and dark backdrops. The accuracy in depicting scenery and robes was not always accompanied by skill in perspective. This is seen, for example, in the work which constitutes an excellent inventory of the interior of the Chapel of Our Lady, the painting entitled "The Polish King, Casimir the Jagiellonian, His Spouse and Children, and the Bohemian King, Ladislaus the Jagiellonian, Received into the Monastery Confraternity by the Paulite Provincial, Jakub of Bogumiłowice, in 1477". A certain concession on behalf of the more sophisticated viewer, not so much artistically but rather intellectually, was allegorical painting which is mixed with historical scenes depicting miracles which were said to have taken place at Jasna Góra. Such pictures decorated the vaulting of the Chapel of Our Lady, the Basilica, the Knights' Hall and the Library which was built through the effort of the Provincial Anastazy Kiedrzyński in 1739. The Library was decorated by an Italian (?) artist. Simple pilgrims had no access to it and therefore these paintings could include personifications of arts, sciences and methods for practising them, that is symbols of the intellectual wealth of the library collection stored in magnificently inlaid bookcases executed by a cabinet-maker, Brother Grzegorz Woźniakowicz. The Library contained 200 volumes in 1585, 1608 volumes in I614, 4000 printed books and 220 manuscripts in 1714, and today it boasts 11000 volumes divided into eighteen sections. What is particularly striking about this collection is the fact that all the books are in uniform bindings of wood and leather made by the book-binder M. Brylski after a design by the Provincial Albin Dworzański. Aniołek
Allegorical scenes could be found also in other rooms within this part of the monastery which was destined only for the monks and their distinguished guests-in the Refectory where Latin inscriptions accompany emblems and allegories from the Bible and Hagiographies. Love of emblems, which was typical of 17th century art, was manifested not only in architectural decorations but also in furniture design and liturgical vestments.
This predilection found expression in painted decoration adorning old cupboards from the monastery treasury. After new cupboards had been made in 1922, these paintings were transferred on to the walls of the monastery. Of varying artistic quality, they constitute real riddles both for the viewer and the art historian. The author has been fortunate in discovering a theological treatise, individual chapters of which are illustrated with drawings by Theodore Galle, which were prototypes of the Jasna Góra paintings. The treatise in question is the Jesuit Jan David's Pancarpium Marianum, Septemplici Titulorum serie distinctum, which is the second part of the work entitled Paradisus Sponsi et Sponsae dedicated to the Spanish king's lieutenant in the Netherlands, Archduke Albrecht of Austria, and his wife Isabella Clara. This work appeared in Antwerp in 1607. In the Jasna Góra paintings, each of which is provided with Latin couplets from David's treatise, the Madonna is shown, for example, as "The Mother of Sacred Hope" with penitents seeking her protection, as "The Mediatress of Redemption", or else as "The Merchants' Ship" from the Book of Proverbs, that is the ship of redemption moved by the breath of the Holy Spirit and carrying on board eucharistic nourishment. One of these pictures shows the Virgin Mary as "The See of Wisdom" sitting under
a tent, which recalls those captured from the Turks by John Sobieski at Vienna, and surrounded by suppliant representatives of various spiritual and secular estates. Among them the face of the emperor seems to recall the likenesses of Sigismund III and that of the king reminds one of the portraits of John III Sobieski. War reminiscences are present in the picture representing the Madonna as the biblical "Fortified Camp". Over the camp, with six detachments commanded by a hetman on horseback, hovers the God-bearer.
In front of the camp there are Her enemies and troops under Her protection, fighting with each other, prey for the devil symbolized as a dragon. This is a clear allusion not only to the wars waged by the Commonwealth but also to the Church's struggle with heretics who at that time were often at variance among themselves.
The third and rather modestly represented genre of painting is portraiture. Professor Władysław Tatarkiewicz wrote: "There are not many portraits at Jasna Góra. 17th and 18th century nobles did not deem it appropriate to donate their likenesses to such a holy place. Before, royal portraits had been found there, but these were destroyed by the great fire. The portraits of monks in the Knights' Hall are of a later date." True, there are not many portraits at Jasna Góra, with the exception of the pictures presenting various events, the heroes of which might have been known to the painters or else their portraits were supplied to the artists by the monks who used to commission such likenesses. In 17th century Poland many portraits were painted. The contemporary poet Wacław Potocki ridiculed manorial galleries of portraits of predecessors, which every nobleman strove to possess : "Blackened pictures show ancient forbears; it's a paltry testimony to a noble descent." This liking for having one's portrait painted and of collecting portraits extended to lower social strata. The best examples of such portraits are the so-called coffin or funeral portraits, the shape of the cross-section of the coffin, mostly octagonal in the latter half of the 17th century and hexagonal in the 18th century. Such portraits were placed at the foot of the coffin laid on the catafalque during the prolonged funeral ceremonies which often lasted several days, and later were hung up in the church or chapel. These portraits, connected with Sarmatian culture-megalomaniac gentry ideology according to which the Poles were descended from the ancient Sarmatians-were to be found most often in Mazovia, Great Poland, Pomerania and the Lubusz region. The small Jasna Góra collection of coffin portraits presents a whole cross-section of this genre with its high diversity of artistic merit, from work by excellent painters to medium quality and downright unskilful products. The well and not so well known Polish noblemen are always shown in the same two-dimensional way in warm hues.
As a rule, details of their robes are stressed, one exception being an almost monochromatic, exquisite likeness of Kasper Denhoff, Starost of Wieluń (?-1645). The authors' whole attention was concentrated on the features of the deceased and often, in contravention of the principle de mortuis nil nisi bene, they did not shrink from overdoing facial features, which speaks well of their talent for observation. A dignitary, probably Jerzy Dominik Lubomirski
(?-1727), Voivode of Cracow and crown chamberlain, is pictured attired in
a huge, French wig and wearing a piece of light breast-plate armour and a fur-lined coat, all painted in beautifully harmonious hues, while his almost caricatural features are reminiscent of his likeness in Warsaw's National Museum. Another portrait, recalling Sobieski's likeness painted in 1690 and now in Wilanów, was executed in the same convention-in an artistically crude way-thirty years after the king's death.

Portraits were also to be found on votive offerings, mostly repousse, engraved and chased works of gilded silver. The votive plate representing its donor, Stefan Czarniecki (?), Field Hetman of the Realm-with a battle scene and a fortress in the background-underlines the detail of attire and hairstyle of the kind the gentry wore at that time. This plate, presumably of Polish workmanship, dates back to the second half of the 17th century and is slightly inferior to the one depicting Constantine the Great, undoubtedly of Augsburg provenance, which was donated by the Denhoff family in1690. Of a still poorer artistic level is a votive plate dating from the second half of the 18th century and donated by an unknown gentry family. In the author's rendition the donors are shown kneeling in front of the Madonna of Częstochowa, but to make them more comfortable the unskilful goldsmith provided the suppliants with kneeling cushions which gives the image an unintentional mannerist effect of amor vacui.
The largest collection of artistic craftsmanship is contained in the monastery treasury. Part of this collection was transferred in 1969 to the former Arsenal dating from the second half of the 17th century where the display is arranged in an ingenious and modern way.
As regards goldsmithery there is no lack of objects from the monastery's own workshop which is supposed to have been founded in the 16th century. It is known that in the 18th century such a workshop was run by Father Daniel Katarzyński (?-1743). Father Katarzyński's pupil, Antoni Knapiński, became master of the Cracow goldsmiths guild with which Częstochowa artisans were connected. By analyzing chronologically artistic objects of gold and silver preserved at Jasna Góra, it is possible to follow the meandering line of development of this art in Poland from the Gothic period to the present day.
A testimony to the gradual transition from Gothic to modern form in Polish art is a monstrance, a gift of King Sigismund I, with the date 1542, which has the traditional shape of a cross-section of a Gothic temple and which was probably executed by Cracow goldsmiths. Among the delicate and slender architectural forms of Late Gothic there is the figure of Christ on the Cross, Sorrowing Christ, the apocalyptic "woman clad in the sun" which symbolizes the Church and the Madonna, as well as figures of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, the two pillars of the Universal Church, and two patrons of Poland, St. Adalbert and St.Stanislaus of Cracow. Another gift from Sigismund I is the altar cross, executed in Nuremberg in 1510, which represents Christ on the Cross and the figures of the Madonna and St. John, all shown in a Late Gothic solemn mood.
According to Jasna Góra sources, the last of the Jagiellonians, "His Majesty Sigismund I considered himself to be happy to be able to contribute to the ornaments of the Picture of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, and therefore, as a proof of his famous mastery as a goldsmith, he presented to the monastery a votive offering in the form of a large, gold cross which he had made with his own hands".Skarbiec
The majority of the Jasna Góra treasures are connected with Baroque, the spiritual climate of which, exuberant, rich and affecting imagination, to a large extent determined the outward shape of Polish Catholicism. An excellent example of this is an heirloom of Poland's liberation from the Swedish "deluge"-a huge (103 centimetres high) gold monstrance weighing over 13 kilograms. It was made by the court goldsmith Wacław Grottkau (Grotko) of Warsaw in 1672 (six pounds of gold, plus a large quantity of gems, were offered by Queen Marie Louise). The Baroque glory of the monstrance in the shape of the sun is entwined by the eucharistic motifs of the grapevine. Two cloisonné figures from the Old Testament, the high priests Melchizedek and Aaron, hold out their hands pointing to the Host. The exuberance of both form and material is truly Baroque. The crown on the top of the ostensorium contains an exceptionally large diamond which, together with its ring, was bequeathed by Zygmunt Przerembski, Voivode of Sieradz. In addition there are 2,366 diamonds, 2,208 rubies, 214 pearls, 81 emeralds and 30 sapphires.
The Jasna Góra collection also contains heirlooms of events unconnected with war. King Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki, after his marriage to Archduchess Eleonora of Austria, offered in 1670, among many other objects, an unusually original monstrance in the shape of a column made of gold, rock crystal and gems, which decorate its foot, as well as an Italian chalice and a set of liturgical vessels studded with coral. Among the military collections mention should be made of a sabre inset with agate and turquoise plates which is said to be a votive offering from King Stephen Báthory.
Many heirlooms of John III Sobieski, the most perfect personification of Polish bravery and Sarmatian piety of the 17th century, have been preserved at Jasna Góra. Monastery tradition connects the fate of one of the most beautiful and famous sabres with Sobieski's setting out to the relief of Vienna. This sabre, according to monastery sources offered to Our Lady by Hetman Stanisław Zółkiewski, probably dates from the late 16th century and is of eastern provenance. At Jasna Góra only its hilt and scabbard, both richly ornamented and studded with precious stones, have been preserved. When John III set out for Vienna, the Częstochowa Paulites handed him Zółkiewski's sabre with wishes of victory. The king accepted the blade only, saying the steel was all he needed on the battlefield. After returning from Vienna Sobieski made a votive offering of captured weapons; bunchuks (horse-tailed insignia of office of Turkish military commanders) and tents.
The monastery treasury also contains valuable gifts from King Augustus III of Poland and Saxony dating from 1747. These are porcelain figures of the twelve Apostles, two crucifixes and six candle holders executed by Master Johann Joachim Kändler of Meissen.
Besides the collection of armour and weapons of both Polish and foreign make, mainly eastern, i.e. usually captured from the enemy, the monastery also boasts a small collection of old musical instruments. The most valuable of these are natural trumpets. The oldest of them, bearing the maker's signature "EK" on it, is of Prague workmanship and dates back to the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. Another one, more recent, was made by Edward Jan Bauer, and a third one was the work of Hieronim Starck of Nuremberg, executed, according to an inscription, in 1693. A real rarity in the Jasna Góra collection is also a valve trumpet for the left hand, the work of August Wolf of Prague, dating from the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. Such trumpets were made only for fifteen years and few have found their way to museum collections in the world. Among string instruments mention should be made of a double-bass viol or violone made in 1771 in Germany by Ignatius Hoffmann.
Music must have played an important role in the monks' lives since in the 17th and 18th centuries the monastery boasted a very good "vocal and instrumental chapel" composed of outstanding secular musicians (the names of 371 of them have been established by Dr. Paweł Podejko). Among them there was no lack of talented choirmasters, choristers, instrumentalists and soloists as well as twenty-eight composers. The latter included Fathers Szymon Neapolitanus, Maryn Cornicius and Władysław Leszczyński in the 17th century, and Father Eryk Brykner in the 18th century. A hundred and fifty-six compositions by Jasna Góra composers have been preserved. In the 18th century Father Urial Tuligłowski designed an instrument which he called the Tuli di Gambe, the original sound of which he presented at the court of Charles VI in Vienna.
The Jasna Góra collections also abound in such impermanent objects as tapestries and fabrics. The oldest chasubles date from the early 16th century. Sometimes embroidery on the so-called cross-columns (the central part of
a chasuble) and fabrics from which sides were made came from various countries and various epochs. Such, for example, is the case with the chasuble bearing the coat-of arms of the Hungarian family of Homonnay-Drugeth, related to the Báthorys. The cross-column, embroidered mostly in gold and silver thread, is presumably of Hungarian origin. The pattern depicts Mary under a late Gothic architectural canopy : the scene of the angelic Annunciation and the Dormition, as well as St. Peter the Apostle and St. Paul the Hermit protecting the donor and her children. The sides of red velvet, with large patterns in gold thread, are typical of the Italian workshops of the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. In addition the chasuble is thickly studded with pearls. Incidentally pearls often appeared on liturgical vestments since according to biblical symbolism they signified the Immaculate Conception and the birth of Christ. Liturgical vestments of great artistic value which have been preserved at Jasna Góra are sometimes connected with the names of their donors, which makes it easier to establish the date of their execution. Sometimes, however, legend contradicts the form of the work. For example, the Jasna Góra treasury contains a chasuble embroidered with pearls which used to be ascribed to Queen Hedwig and dated from 1393. However, this chasuble undoubtedly comes from the second or third decade of the 16th century and is testimony to the transition from the Late Gothic to the Renaissance style in Polish art.

The largest number of treasures come from the Baroque and Rococo periods. The post-Tridentine liturgy; exuberant and, in contrast to protestant ascetism, elaborate and associated with all genres of art, called not only for sumptuous liturgical vessels, dazzling monstrances and reliquaries, but also for equally sumptuous vestments : chasubles, capes and dalmatics, whole sets of which were known as "apparatus". Cross-columns of old chasubles were transferred onto new damasks and brocades, as was, for example, the case with the one dating from the 15th century and depicting the scene of the Crucifixion which is clearly reminiscent of Wit Stwosz's patterns. Depending on the importance of a holiday, more or less sumptuous vestments were used. One of the most exquisite of these is the famous "pearl apparatus" from the foundation of the Provincial Konstanty Moszyński, Bishop of Livonia. This set of liturgical vestments with heavy Baroque ornaments in green, red and gold, was made c.I7I7 by the goldsmith, Brother Makary Sztyftowski. The multi-coloured appliqué work of pieces of velvet, coming from a cloak of Prince Jakub Sobieski, is embroidered with gems, above all pearls, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The monastery also had its own embroiderers of whom the most famous were Father Stanisław Cornicius (Kornicki?) and Lay Brother Klemens Tomaszewski (?-1686).
The showpiece among the many sumptuous liturgical vestments preserved in the treasury is the so-called Krassowski Apparatus. Son of a rich gentry family, Michał Krassowski, Canon of Warsaw and Guardian of Wiślica, completed his education at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, was a Seym deputy and died in Rome in 1740. He was in Rome, it seems, to get papal approval for his treatise on the symbolism of liturgical vestments, published in Polish and Latin by the Jasna Góra printing press. In order to prove the theses contained in his treatise, Krassowski had two sets of vestments made, differing only in the text of the dedication. One set was donated by him to Jasna Góra, while the other was handed to Pope Benedict XIII. After the latter's death his family, the Orsinis, offered this set to the Neapolitan Oratorians. The unusual feature of these chasubles, capes and dalmatics is, however, not so much their sumptuous patterns embroidered in relief in a way typical of Baroque, but their subject and contents. These are in fact learned theological and Marian treatises executed with great accuracy, the sense of which is partly explained by embroidered in scriptions which are quotations from the Bible and Marian hymns. Owing to the preserved letters of the canon to the Prior of the Jasna Góra Paulites, Provincial Konstanty Moszyński, we learn that these unique vestments were made by the nuns from Mienia in the Podlasie region working under the direction of Mother Superior Marianna Czermińska.
All objects which form the monastery collections are not just museum exhibits. Each of them, either invaluable or penny worth, has its own history, its own, individual or social connotation. Therefore objects which are hard to come by in other galleries and museums have found their way here, objects of various epochs and connected with good and bad fortune for the Poles.
The Renaissance period, for example, is represented by a souvenir of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land which was made between 1582 and 1584 by Prince Mikołaj Radziwiłl called Sierotka (Orphan). This journey, which is described in his own diary entitled Peregrination or a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which constitutes one of the earliest Polish descriptions of far away, exotic lands, ended in Częstochowa where Mikołaj Radziwiłl left his pilgrim's staff and rosary of rock crystal. The treasury contains heirlooms of older and later provenance, nearly all of them connected with distinguished personalities and events. There are, for example, the shrine, altar and casket which belonged to Tadeusz Kościuszko during his tsarist imprisonment, Henryk Sienkiewicz's gold pen, and Zofia Kossak-Szczucka's powderbox which served for smuggling the Holy Eucharist to the Pawiak Gestapo prison in Warsaw. Thus we have approached recent history. National struggles are represented by Virtuti Militari crosses and battle paintings from the Second World War. The martyrdom of the Polish nation is recalled by urns with the ashes of those murdered at Majdanek, a crown of thorns made from barbed wire from Dachau, a monstrance carved in wood which was used by the prison chaplains in Dachau, and a rosary made of bread by Janina Dębska in Ravensbrück. As an expression of respect for the shrine of Jasna Góra and for the Polish nation there are gifts from popes, including a monstrance sent by John XXIII and the Golden Rose of John Paul II.The architectural monuments, sculptures, paintings and objects of artistic craftsmanship preserved at Jasna Góra reflect both the changes of style and vicissitudes of history. An inventory of them was carried out between 1968 and 1974 by Zofia Rozanow and Ewa Smulikowska of the Polish Academy of Sciences. As a result a separate volume of the Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce (A Catalogue of Art Treasures in Poland) will be devoted to Jasna Góra.

The aim of the present publication is to make the magnificent complex of Jasna Góra more accessible to the reader, since in the national consciousness it plays a role comparable with that played by the Wawel Royal Castle in Cracow and the Royal Castle in Warsaw which has been recreated from the ruins.